Businesses feel impact of skills gap

Survey reports productivity losses, low morale and lost revenue.

TORONTO — More than half (56%) of employers are concerned about the growing skills gap, and 46% believe there is a significant gap between the skills their organization needs and the skills job candidates have, according to survey.

Thirty-seven per cent say they currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates, up from 25% last year.

The national survey was conducted online in November through December of 2013 by Harris Poll on behalf of the job site and included a representative sample of 406 private sector hiring managers across industries and company sizes.

While 24% say vacancies typically go unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates for less than a month, 38% of employers say they’ve had vacancies last three months or longer, and 11% have had them stretch on for at least 6 months while they searched for qualified candidates.

Long-lasting vacancies can have very real consequences: 58% of employers say they’ve seen a negative impact on their business due to extended job vacancies, up from 41% last year.

Some of the most commonly cited consequences include:

• Productivity loss 30%
• Lower morale 24%
• Revenue loss 15%
• Lower quality work 15%
• Inability to grow business 13%
• More employee turnover 13%

One way some employers overcome the skills gap is by increasing compensation in order to attract skilled talent. More than half (57%) of employers say they’ve had a job candidate turn down an offer in the last year, with 20% saying they couldn’t meet the candidate’s salary demands. A third (33%) of employers are planning to raise starting salaries for high-skill positions this year.

On-the-job training is another way employers can combat the growing skills gap. Fifty-nine per cent of employers say they trained workers who didn’t have experience in their particular industry and hired them in 2013. Fifty-five per cent are planning on doing so this year.

Training budgets have increased overall in the past year, with 61% of employers spending more than $50,000 on training, compared to 49% last year. Nearly half of employers (48%) spend more than $100,000 a year on training, up from 37% last year.

Many employers have also begun reaching out to young future job seekers to help prepare them for entry into the workforce. Thirty-one per cent have promoted careers at their organization to high school students, and 7% have reached out to grammar school students.

This survey has a 95% probability of a sampling error of +/- 4.86%.

1 Comment » for Businesses feel impact of skills gap
  1. George says:

    In my opinion this article is 180 degrees wrong – there are no skilled jobs to fill our requirements as employees! My wife is trying for about an year to find a job, that matches her three degrees, one of which from Harvard University and still no luck. We are considering leaving this low wages, low skill economy and moving back to Europe.

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